Sparks

Vigil

By Kathy Guthormsen Vigil I hold vigil by the campfire Watching dry logs send sparks dancing into the twilight, the west coast version of fireflies My prayers winging their way to you No more hot tubs under palm trees No more drinks with paper umbrellas These are distant memories wrapped in protective quilts I ask the fire to transform me into smoke that drifts upward Tendrils reaching, searching for you Forever just out of reach I had to let your body go But I hold your essence in my still beating heart where I will keep you safe and warm As long as I am here “Vigil” was created using Prompt #580 on The Write Spot Blog. Kathy Guthormsen Growing up in Skagit Valley, Washington with its verdant farmland gave Kathy an appreciation for the promise and beauty of nature’s bounty. The Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges and old growth…

Sparks

Morning Sign

By Camille Sherman I glided a knife through an avocado this morning and thought, if I open this avocado and it turns out to be perfect, it’s going to be a great day. I opened my little fortune to see the happiest unblemished green smiling up at me. I ate in front of a vase of peony tulips that have opened so wide they look like lotus flowers, weighty enough to bend the top of the pond, but not enough to break it. I consider the crumbs, dust, and flower petals faintly mapping my floor and relish the open day ahead with which to sweep and wash. A fresh to do list will be poured with a second cup of coffee and the prophecy of my lovely day will continue to unfold its sweet pink petals. Camille Sherman is a professional opera singer from the Bay Area. She trained at…

Sparks

Complimented Complement

By Kathleen Haynie Yes, it drives me nuts. They take an English word that has some nuanced meaning for them personally, and they use it to name some untouchable gadget they have invented. And then someone else makes the gadget anew and puts a new name on it. Then it becomes daily language usage. She was complaining that her boyfriend didn’t understand her feelings. “He doesn’t have enough bandwidth, I guess.” That word no longer belongs in Techieville. Complement with an “e” gets merged into compliment with an “I” because spell check doesn’t check it. Someone must think highly of me because I am always getting complimentary “one-month free” offers. My e-mail gadget is called a program, a file, or a client. My clients usually pay me for my services, but this one does a service for me for free! I went to copy some text on my computer to…

Sparks

Brain Space

By Camille Sherman I’d like to write something charming or insightful or brilliant but the mind is as blank as the page. I scavenge the corners of consciousness, deftly sidestepping the errands and faint reminders threatening to blossom into worry. I search for a road less traveled by, a path in the crevices of my frontal cortex that could lead to my creative promised land. All that comes is the Law & Order theme song. Camille Sherman is a professional opera singer from the Bay Area. She trained at The Boston Conservatory and the San Francisco Conservatory of music, and served as an Artist in Residence at Pensacola Opera and Portland Opera. She currently lives in Portland, where she continues to sing and develop projects with local artists.

Sparks

Shopping at the A & P

By Jonah Raskin My mother always shopped at the A & P in the small town where I grew up. Going there with her was almost as wonderful as going to the Planetarium with its stars and planets in its make-believe night sky, and the Museum of Natural History with its reconstructed dinosaurs. At the A & P I liked the rows and rows of canned goods, and packaged cereals, the smell of the wood floor and the man in the green apron who always helped my mother. I thought of him and the A & P the other day when I went shopping in my own local food market. Like the A & P of my boyhood, my local market is small, clean, and tidy. Some of the smells are nearly the same. Walking the aisles, I’m reminded of the smells in the A & P. Before I know…

Sparks

Time . . . Too Much, Too Little

By Cheryl Moore In the many years of a working life, time is too little.           Too little to be with family and friends           Too little to pursue creative activities           Too little to just sit back and enjoy its passage. Since retirement there has been time. What have I done with this time?           Walk to the river           Scribble in a journal           Mix up paint on a canvas           Invent a story from memories           Settle on the porch with a book and watch the birds at the feeder,                     crows chasing a hawk high in the sky           Watch the sun rise and set as it slowly arcs across the sky           Watch the tide’s ebb and flow pulled by the distant moon           Watch the blooming and fading of the garden’s flowers           And the creatures who visit Too much time or too…

Sparks

Be more, do less.

By Camille Sherman This advice was first shared in a Master Class-style opera workshop where my classmates and I would sing for each other, beginning the long process of working out the kinks in our presentation. The purpose of the vice was to help organize the inner monologue: the running mental news banner that presses into every young performance or audition.  Here’s how it goes: standing in front of a dozen peers, preparing to perform the aria you’ve been overthinking all morning, the mind runs wild. Sound good, remember the words, give a compelling performance, impress everyone or face clumsy embarrassment. The music starts and as you stare at a point on the back wall just above the heads of your classmates, your mental tornado flurrying, a thought freezes you into place: what do I do with my hands? Do I move or gesture? You realize as you sing the…

Sparks

Turtle Regains The Pond

By Lakin Khan Layers of mud kept Turtle warm and secluded all through the winter hibernation. Occasionally a bubble escaped to the top of the pond, but usually, no. A spring sun glanced across the serene surface of the pond, riling up the water insects, generating a small current that brought fresh smells to Turtle’s blunt, beaky nose. Cinnamon, he thought, and hot cross buns, he considered, the memories of days kept at a house weaving into his rising consciousness. Time for business, he thought, and scrabbled against the twigs and leaves that the mud held against him, claws working to free him up out of his encasement and into the cold bottom water and then up, up, up into the gradually warming surface, into the feral spring. Two months ago, wild horses couldn’t have dragged him out of the bottom of the muck, but now Spring itself was galloping…

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History Lesson

By Susan Bono I’ve been rummaging around in already full closets lately, trying to find space for all the stuff I brought home when I emptied my parents’ house last May. It’s been rough going, but I stopped wondering why when I realized Mom and Dad lived in their house for thirty-seven years, only eight years longer than we’ve lived in ours. Our youngest son often encounters me staring into space clutching a quilt, wood carving, or photograph. I think my uncharacteristic attempts at organization are making him nervous. “What are you doing? What’s that?” he asks. “Oh, this is some of your Great Aunt Emily’s needlepoint,” I tell him a little too eagerly. “These are my Barbie clothes, and here are the baby rompers your great grandmother made for your grandfather back in 1925. You wore them once yourself.” I give him these family history updates knowing full well…

Sparks

Calm

By Kathleen Haynie I drive by her turn-out, roll down the passenger car window to greet her with my best whinny. I can see her whinny ripple through the flesh of her sorrel and white soft muzzle. That muzzle will soon be buried in the red wheat bran she knows is coming. This time it is laced with bute to ease her pain from her sprained right knee. I hope the alfalfa sprinkles camouflage the taste of bute.* She is not too distracted with the hay and grain to lift each foot in turn so I can clean out the V ruts of each frog. After seventeen years, we know the drill. The curry comb pulls off twigs of the white winter coat on her back and haunches. Somehow the earth tells her body that it’s time to start letting go as the days grow longer. Yet the nights are…